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We begin well back in the Victorian era with the name of the Liverpool born John Liptrot Hatton (1809-86), singer, conductor and composer, some of whose songs (there were over 300 altogether) like The Enchantress, To Anthea and Simon the Cellarer, perhaps also the partsong When Evening’s Twilight, retained their popularity long after his death. He composed for the theatre as well: an opera, operettas, even extra numbers for H M S Pinafore, recently rediscovered in an archive in Australia. He worked at Drury Lane and later at the Princess Theatre.

Ernest Ford (1858-1919) is basically a Victorian figure, too. A pupil of Sullivan for whose Ivanhoe he did the piano reduction, he produced much serious music – operas, chamber music, cantatas and church music – but is worth a mention for his work for the light musical theatre, which included ballet music and the operetta Jane Annie (1893), which, despite the eminence of the joint writers of its book and lyrics (J. M. Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle) flopped spectacularly at the Savoy (it has had a modern revival, however, albeit just a single performance and with just piano accompaniment as the score has gone AWOL).

Moving forward into the new century, we come to the name of W. M. Hutchinson, active between the wars and a ballet composer of such titles as He is Coming, Distant Land, Dream Faces, Pierrot, Little Drummer Bill and Under the Stars.

Now for two composers whose floreats straddled the Second War. Richard Hirst’s orchestral numbers included Interlude in Waltz Time (1950), Sea Green, an entr’acte and Turkish Delight, a march. Alfred M Hale wrote songs (e.g. a set of seven Sonnets, 1948, and Rose Ann), Four Folk Song Studies, published for piano in 1930, and an orchestral Cornish Suite, Opus 5, whose movements were Prelude, The Three Knights, Adam and Eve and The Foray.

Finally, a mention for Sydney Hodkinson, born in 1934, for his compositions for youth orchestra Drawings, eight sets (c.1974) and Two Fanfares For a Festival.

Philip L Scowcroft

Enquiries to Philip at

8 Rowan Mount



Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.

E-mail enquiries (but NOT orders) can be directed to Rob Barnett at

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